Source - The PGA Tour has agreed to merge with Saudi-backed rival LIV Golf in a deal that would see the competitors squash pending litigation and move forward as a larger golf enterprise.
The two entities signed an agreement that would combine the PGA Tour and LIV Golf’s commercial businesses and rights into a new, yet-to-be-named for-profit company. The agreement includes DP World Tour, also known as the European PGA Tour.
LIV Golf is backed by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, an entity controlled by the Saudi crown prince and has been embroiled in antitrust lawsuits with the PGA Tour in the last year. The deal announced Tuesday would end all pending litigation.
PIF is prepared to invest billions of new capital into the new entity, CNBC’S David Faber reported on Tuesday. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
Well that was short lived. And utterly predictable under the circumstances. Given that LIV Golf is an entity wholly created, not for profit, but to slap a smiley emoji on the Saudi Arabia Public Investment fund and the government that pays to keep the lights on. And that sort of public relations is hard when you have no relation to the public. By that I mean, no one was watching or talking about it:
And from the PGA perspective, this makes sense for a couple of reasons. First, there are great golfers taking that sweet, sweet Saudi money. Second, the PGA has NOT been getting that money. Third, and most importantly, the PGA is a business. Meaning it exists only to make a much money as possible. And not for some other reason. In spite of what you hear when Jim Nantz is waxing poetic about the storied history of some venue where the ghosts of champions past echoes through the pines or some such purple prose horseshit.
My immediate reaction is that this was going to happen all along. It was inevitable. As much as people at the PGA and the golf media loved to moralize about "Sportswashing" and indignantly insist they're above such petty motives, when the rubber hits the road, it's about maximizing profits. And it's going to be fantastic theater listening to those same holier-than-thou types who came down so hard on Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Greg Norman and the rest, have to twist themselves into balloon animals trying to justify all this.
Just on a practical level, this is what happens with these rival sports leagues time and time and time again. The NFL merged with the AFL. The NBA absorbed some of the ABA. WHA teams joined the NHL. And that's the successful ones. The vast majority of them fold within a season or two. Because it's business Darwinism.
The difference is, when say, Al Davis and Lamar Hunt challenged the NFL and formed a rival league, no one accused them of signing a contract in blood with Satan, the way the LIV critics did. And I'm not saying the people backing LIV aren't inherently corrupt oligarchs. Just that so is everyone backing events like FIFA, the Olympics, and most of the sponsors who do business with these leagues. The world is a messy place, filled with evil people who have lots of money the rest of us would like to get their hands on. And those brave moral stances tend to be made on sand castles at a time like this.
So the PGA is making peace with the very people it vowed never to partner up with. Welcome back, everyone. As The Who said it best about all revolutions, "Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss."
UPDATE: I never do this. Once a post gets published I move onto the next thing, unless I committed a typo or a math error, then I'll go back and correct it. But the second I saw this trending on Twitter I knew I blew it. And while trying to get it posted as fast as I could to qualify as actual Breaking News, I missed this low hanging fruit:
No excuses. I've got to be better. Blog Like a Champion Today.